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Review: ‘The Nutcracker’ features all-star cast
REVIEW BY JOHN BERGER / firstname.lastname@example.org
The Christmas season has arrived several weeks earlier than usual this year with Ballet Hawaii’s 2012 production of “The Nutcracker” presented this weekend at the Blaisdell Concert Hall. The final performance is today’s Sunday matinee, and anyone and everyone whose Christmas traditions include this iconic seasonal ballet will find Ballet Hawaii’s production is the one to see.
Presented by Ballet Hawaii
» Where: Blaisdell Concert Hall, 777 Ward Ave.
Ballet Hawaii Artistic Director Pamela Taylor Tongg has assembled an all-star cast of guest dancers from national companies who have done great work here in previous years. She is also introducing several more who are certain to become favorites here in years to come.
Megan Fairchild (Sugar Plum Fairy) and Joaquin De Luz (Cavalier), both of them principal dancers with the New York City Ballet, capped the opening night show Friday, Nov. 9, with stellar performances. De Luz danced superbly and earned well-deserved applause after each of his solos. Fairchild was breathtaking as always as his leading lady.
Timour Bourtasenkov and Lilyan Vigo Ellis, principal dancers with the Carolina Ballet and both popular guests here, radiated sensuality with their sensuous synchronized movement in the Arabian segment. Vigo Ellis also stars with Andrew Veyette in the exquisitely danced Snow Pas De Deux. Vigo Ellis and Veyette earned spontaneous applause twice during their pas de deux.
Veyette, a third NYCB principal dancer who is back again for Ballet Hawaii, earned enthusiastic audience applause as well for his work as the most energetic and high-flying of the three male dancers in the Russian Trepak segment.
John Selya distinguished himself as a Russian and received enthusiastic applause for his new, very contemporary choreography as the mechanical toy soldier in Act I. It is highly unlikely that Tchaikovsky would have ever envisioned a Michael Jackson-style “moon walk” as a ballet move, but Selya’s moon-walking mechanical soldier was big hit with the audience on Friday.
Sterling Hyltin (Dew Drop) and Sokvannara “Sy” Sar (Chinese) were audience favorites as well. Sar’s athleticism as the male dancer in the Chinese segment was applauded on two separate occasions. Hyltin’s performance was also punctuated with applause. Sar and Hyltin earned applause earlier with their portrayal of the mechanical dolls Harlequin and Columbine in Act I as well.
And, it wouldn’t be Ballet Hawaii’s “Nutcracker” without the organization’s vice president, Dr. Philip McNamee, as the grandfather in the party scene doing the old man’s ever-popular comic folk dance.
Sar was one of several guest stars appearing here for the first time. First-timers Gabor Kapin and Margaret Severin-Hansen made the Spanish segment an unusually strong dramatic number, and Puanani Apoliona Brown was charming and graceful as Little Bo Peep.
In short, despite the unseasonably early scheduling, Ballet Hawaii’s 2012 production of “Nutcracker” is a delightful way for people of all ages to get into the spirit of th Christmas season.
John Berger has been a mainstay in the local entertainment scene for more than 40 years. Contact him via email at email@example.com.